Paranoia is an emotional side effect that some people experience when they get high on marijuana. Fortunately, or might I say, unfortunately, I didn’t experience any level of paranoia when I was high. Several of my “druggie” friends have suffered severe terror when they snorted cocaine all weekend long. I often wondered if it was the substance that the coke was cut with, or the coke itself.
Some think they are being followed or watched, experience claustrophobia or suffer from different degrees of anxiety—the worst being a full-fledged panic attack. One of my buddies got high nearly every day for over 10 years before he started getting paranoid. One day he was smoking a joint during the hour-long drive home from work when he had to pull over and look in the trunk of his car because he thought someone was there. This ended his cannabis smoking days.
After researching some of the causes of marijuana paranoia, I learned that some people are predisposed to emotional instability and cannabis may be an early trigger. There are many variables such as genetic vulnerability, personality, basal anxiety levels and family history of emotional disorders. Marijuana with higher THC levels will generate fear and anxiety more than “dirt weed”.
I was traveling in a snowstorm with a carload of friends during my high school years. We were having a joint rolling contest. Part of the score was how even the joint smoked and how long it lasted. We were using a high grade of Colombian Gold for this senseless contest. Six of us smoked a quarter-ounce of weed in about an hour. This was one of the highest episodes of my life.
As we started laughing and cracking jokes, my good friend Jim started freaking out and tried opening the car door to get out while we were driving down the road. We tried to restrain him, but his paranoid state caused his adrenaline levels to skyrocket as he forced the door open and jumped into a cold, fluffy snowbank. Jim did not want to get back into the car because he was feeling extremely claustrophobic. This put a damper on the fun we were having that afternoon.
I believe my 30-year addiction to marijuana would have been a lot shorter if I had started experiencing paranoia from marijuana. There were times I wished I would have started to freak out from getting high to give me a reason to stop smoking pot. I thought I had to get high before I could function at anything well. To learn more about marijuana addiction, please download my book “30 Years High”.
D. Jack Oswald